More Massive Wordage Attached to the BH#66
This is because I will now magically transform into a hermit devoted not to the contemplation of God upon a steep pillar or in a damp, isolated cave, but to the all-consuming revision of the quiz questions I have spent a massive part of the last decade writing in my bedroom which resembles a dark and damp cave; albeit one with curtains the colour of pink grapefruit.
Those questions took the best of me these past nine years, so it's about time they paid back the fantastic favour I did by giving the blighters the gift of LIFE. It's, I admit, a kind of Dr Frankenstein thing: the old creator-monster dynamic.
This is because I'm thinking I should actually take a look at them rather than writing more and more. I should look back unlike Dylan in the movies. The Q&A setting process - that is writing hundreds of questions per day in the run-up to tourney day - is marginally successful, but it is far from efficient. I have to try a different tack.
Because consolidation is the BUZZ word *capitals used to denote flippancy* and will ensure I do not write out the same question for the fourth time without realising it. Those are the ones that simply fall through the ever-widening gaps in my memory. They are the Q&A's I can never have.
Previously, I had tried to record myself reading out questions on tape and did fill up three or four such cassettes with my trivial dronings (I hate the way my voice sounds on tape and radio). But I soon lost them at about the same time I started to believe that using a tape cassette recorder to do so was like cycling a penny farthing down Regent's Street at rush hour. Tapes are ancient history, man. Unless, of course, it is being used for journalist stuff.
Therefore, casting my eyes over the chosen info with uncommon concentration is my ploy for now.
Well, not really
I say all that and put myself forward as some steadfast guru of self-discipline. Actually, what I mean is:
"I really want to do something different in preparation for this week's tournament and will quarantine myself in the hope that isolation will focus my concentration on the task at hand. However, reality is a different beast and such plans are inevitably incinerated in the fierce flames of laziness and indecision. I cannot even trust myself: who knows the whys and wherefores of my own heart? This contrary bugger in the centre of my chest does me no favours, apart from the keeping me alive bit.
Distractions are everywhere. There's the Bank Holiday for starters. Friends believe that no-one should be left indoors, so they must come out and experience the wonder of a spring that doesn't even look like it's bothered to turn up yet. What a tease it is, like someone trying on a tiresome burlesque act prolonged beyond toleration.
The weather-beaten people of our nation are sick of it. We crave the lilting and pleasant warmth a brilliant sunshiney day can envelope you in and soothe your troubles away. For when the sun takes its summer residence in the sky I want to catch all of its beams with my face in a symbolic act that will finally wake me up from the winter's mental hibernation.
At this time of year, I often have a hankering to watch some Morris dancers. Simply because I want to ask them detailed questions about the phallic symbolism that such folk traditions still employ. That's what I call interesting. Otherwise, I will spend the time reading all the magazines and newspapers I have left unread (in a totally uninterested way). When that arduous labour is completed I will probably stare at anything but those chunky quiz files, those bloody chunky quiz files with their impossible-to-learn information.
After that I may well drop The O-bomb on The Windmill pub quiz on Tuesday night, an opportunity I will use to apologise to my fellow team-mates and elucidate the reasons why these useful things called books were more enticing than revelling in Brighton on the Sabbath.
Then, there are DVDs to watch on my laptop. These will kill the time I have set aside for my grand plan with consummate ease. I really want to see Michele Haneke's Code Unknown, simply because its cover has a soaked and worrisome looking Juliette Binoche splashing in the water. Not that I fancy her or anything (when it comes to French actresses I have always preferred Emmanuelle Beart, man-voiced Virginie Ledoyen and the getting on a bit Isabelle Adjani).
CU's cover just makes it look really interesting and I missed Hidden in the cinema (despite having these really strange chat with this fortysomething dude at a media launch party where he basically tried to connect with his fellow man, i.e. me, by talking in-depth about foreign films that he didn't even like, including Hidden, which he had seen three times, and I started nattering on about the Austrian bitterness and cold that all of Haneke's films are cursed with. In fact, I haven't seen any of them and just talked film journo bollocks. A childhood spent reading movie review books cover-to-cover will invest in you all the formulas, dismissive film buff adjectives and pithy comment styles you need to structure an authentic-sounding bluff). Plus, Code Unknown isa very good name too.
It would be all so much easier if I was recovering from surgery. The bedrest would at least curtail my wanderlust. Why couldn't they have scheduled my operations better? Does this NHS know nothing of friends' weddings and revision vows? No wonder Patricia "secret Aussie" Hewitt gets barracked and booed everywhere she goes. She's running a band of bloody drongos.
So, in summing up what I believe will happen by Thursday morn:
I predict I will complete about 15% of the work I aimed to do, mainly due to my short attention span. I will spend much more money than I envisaged. I will drink lager in good but not poisonous quantities. Time spent at home will be consumed mainly by the internet and checking each of my 200 bookmarks at least twice each day, and from time to time I will drift ninja-stylee into the lounge to see whatever piece of Hollywood mainstream nothingness my brother has decided to watch; previous instances in this routine include the viewing of Lake Placid, Scary Movie 3, Batman Forever and Good Will Hunting, even though I have seen at least two of those movies three times and the others twice already (maybe, I cannot resist all those Hollywood production values no matter what terrible plot that they may get wasted on).
Watching any film is possibly preferable to doing an extensive ocular wade through Benet's Reader encyclopedia. Even if the only filmic option has Adam Sandler screeching like a castrated weasel and pretending to be big and tough enough to be an NHL quarterback. (Me joke there: I have a soft sport for old Ads. Happy Gilmore and Punch Drunk Love are perfectly formed and massively entertaining movies, while all of Steve Buscemi's cameo in Billy Madison is worth seeing for such poignant moments as his crossing Billy off his hit-list and his climactic shooting of that guy from The West Wing, who happens to be the real-life hubbie of the mother in Malcolm in the Middle).
Furthermore, having said all that about how my personal history and peculiar peccadiloes will almost influence the next week's course in depressingly familiar fashion, I predict that by setting my sights so low and set down in so many words, or more accurately, these very words, in the perpetual war fought between my good intentions and my aimless mind that reverse-pyschology could force me to spend quality time with the stuff I always wanted to.
In fact, it will work so well that I will forget to bathe the entire week and will smell like the dingiest, most camel-dung splattered souk in all the Middle East, with the added delicate suggestion from people that have the misfortune to cross my path that I reek. The crippling stench will be augmented by my using mounds of fag ash as woad and all the ashtrays I can muster for some breast plates. Once I realise my chance to fight in the Battle of Falkirk with William Wallace has long since I passed and can finally comprehend that cabin fever has turned me into a one-man version of the Donner Party, I will have a bath, open my tangerine dream coloured curtains and slip back into the world of normality, like a battle-scarred soldier returning from another senseless and pointless conflict.
Finally, I will still be depressed about Wayne Rooney's broken foot, despite the benefit of diminishing England's expectations and taking the heat off everyone.
Still, it has to be said: Lord help us all, and most of all Wayne, whose betrayal of Everton may be the reason for the divine retribution visited him yesterday. Karma, as Earl Hickey says at least three times in every single episode of My Name is Earl. Surely, he would have run through the teenaged Middlesbrough team like a sleek terrifying samurai sword slicing effortlessly through a block of Flora margarine if he had stuck with the toffees, instead of having one of his fighting feet murderlised by title rivals. But no, Mr Alex "The Man with a Hairdryer for a Mouth" offered to be his surrogate daddy and now a crucial crunch match has done for him. That'll teach him and his hunger for the big stage. Now he is karma's bitch until his foot finally heals. Amen."
There is, believe me, some truth in there. If you can be bothered to pan for the gold.
Dressing Gown Reflection
Sadly, other serious factors may impinge on the utopian plan. For one, my Grady Tripp bathrobe is in London where I last used it as a makeshift oven mitt. The revision will have to be carried out in plain clothes, not the "thinking" dressing gown. When available garment allows me to shamble and drag myself around the house like a grizzled, blocked novelist, and bat around the pressing dilemma of whether such a brilliant and funny and shambolic writer should stick with Frances McDormand's literature-guzzling paragon of intelligent female wiles or go for Katie Holmes for the sole reason she wears provocative red cowboy boots. This FranKat selection dilemma, however, will take considerable time.
While weighing up the options, I will add thousands of more uninspiring words to his works-in-progress (in my case, my blog and my book) both of which have no end in sight and, perhaps, both need horse illustrations and detailed genealogical histories. Woe is the man who wears that bathrobe. For he can never think straight and always thinks too much.
My final choice, however, would be Katie because Francis "Polo Mint Impression Chin" McDormand has a creepy dimple in her chin that I am convinced was gouged by vicious big cat or some other wild and gouging animal. It ain't her fault, but it is a bit of a turn-off. Katie, on the other hand, has boots. The boots are the deciding factor. Such special footwear say a lot of things apart from being made for walking all over you, unlike the McDormand with the Crater Chin. It says only one thing albeit in a loud and obvious way: "I am one freaky chin-dimple. I'm quite creepy aren't I?"
This is what comes of loving Wonder Boys in an unhealthily excessive way. I loved both the book and film in very different ways, which I can't really say about any other novel and film adaptation I have read. The balance is always tipped in favour of the other, e.g. Jurassic Park. Loved the book, thought the film was empty and too short. The dinosaurs also seemed far more impressive in my imagine.
Going in the opposite direction, I just finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Despite some thoughtful and funny touches, the novel was all over the place. The film was much better, probably because it had far more interest in a linear narrative and the Hungarian revolution of 1956.
The two Wonder Boys are each perfect in their different ways. I would say I wish I was Grady Tripp, but I don't, and despite his evidently exciting life, yen for the mind-blowing ganja and attitude to life. I really want to be Michael Chabon. Correction: I want his brilliant career.
Although if Michelle Williams, Katie's Dawson's Creek co-star, were to muscle her way into the choices I would have no hestitation in picking her for her occasionally blond mane and spiky wit. See her in Me Without You, one of those British films that no one knew ever existed because it didn't stand a chance in the cinemas. Those bastard distributors saw no discernible hook: no Cockney gangsters or saucy Women's Institute members, certainly, no big explosions to bring in the action crowd and a suicidal decision not to cast Hugh Grant. It is all too depressing when such a film flies under the radar. So, might I now implore you to find a copy because it deserves a huge fanbase. Oh, what's the plot? Basically, it's the portrayal of the trials and tribulations that two English best friends ('er with a food English accent and Anna Friel) undergo from the early teenage to dinner party-hosting adult maturity.
Plus, it was partly shot in Brighton. See the seafront. Look at the roads and buildings. Wave your fists at the screen as a way of signalling your disapproval of the long walk from The Concorde 2 to Brighton train station. Get someone unacquainted with the city to sit beside you as you point out the places you used as an impromptu urinal and utter the immortal line: "I've been there". Again and again.
Similar immortal lines found further up the contact chain, moving from filmed location to the actual stars, include: "I saw him" and "I met him in a pub. He's a complete dick in real life". Only when you say you have met Jamie Oliver in a supermarket you actually say the opposite: "Met him in Sainsbury's. Really good bloke". And people don't believe you. All they see are the constant visual sightings of his engorged lingua in the press, and such media exposure of the big, fat slobber tongue lolling around in his mouth is enough to overwhelm your own empirical and physical evidence. Insanity, if ever there was proof for it.
1 Which Czech composer (1902-1988) was the author of the polka Skoda lasky ("Roll Out the Barrel") also known as the Beer Barrel Polka?
2 Which Austrian composer (1825-1899) is known especially for his waltz The Blue Danube?
3 What radio satellite navigation system is the Russian counterpart to the US's GPS system and the EU's embryonic Galileo positioning system?
4 What term refers to the pumping speed multiplied by the gas pressure at the inlet of a vacuum pump and is measured in units such as torr-litres?
5 What term describes evaporation and sublimation into a vacuum?
6 Which English Romantic landscape painter, who was trained by Francois Louis Thomas Francia in English watercolour painting, is known for such works as Normandy (c.1823) and the architectural series Restes et Fragmens, and died of TB aged only 26 in 1828?
7 Which Frenchman's first major painting The Barque of Dante was accepted by the Paris Salon in 1822?
8 What is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius?
9 Once called Port Florence, what port city in the west of the country is the third largest city in Kenya with a population of 322,724 (1999 census)?
10 The Blekinge stones are four early Elder Futhark rune-stones found in which country?
11 Which knighted Scottish composer is best known for A Solway Symphony (1909), a work on his native Galloway, and the Three Border Ballads, Grey Galloway (1908), The Demon Lover (1906/7) and Coronach (1906)?
12 What was the Morgenthau Plan supposed to do, but failed due to Soviet intervention?
13 The first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, who was known for such works as The Dancing Girl of Izu, Snow Country, Thousand Cranes and The House of Sleeping Beauties?
14 What kind of creatures are mound-builders or megapodes?
15 Gelawdewos succeeded his father Lebna Dengel as Emperor of which country in 1540?
16 The author of the 1563 collection Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, which 16th century English poet is famous in Australia for the line "I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die", as it was used by PM Robert Menzies during a tour of the Queen in 1963?
17 Published in 1557, what two-word name is usually given to Songes and Sonettes, written by the rhyght honorable Lorde Henry Haward late Earle of Surrey and other, the first printed anthology of English poetry?
18 Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton composed the earlest English tragedy, which was performed before Elizabeth I in the Inner Temple on January 18, 1561. What was it called?
19 Rising in the Adamawa Plateau of northern Cameroon, the Benue River is the major tributary of which river?
20 At which Japanese airport did Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko land a MiG-25 Foxbat in an attempt to defect to the West on September 6, 1976?
21 What computer and video games company was established by Trip Hawkins in 1982 and has its HQ in Redwood City, California?
22 The Lysa Hora and Zamkova Hills in Kiev are famed sites for what witchcraft-related locations, where witches gathered for their Sabbath?
23 Formed in 1901, what is the oldest established rugby union league in the world?
24 What organic compound and aromatic hydrocarbon is also called vinyl benzene and cinnamene?
25 Located on a large natural harbour on the NW coast, what small hamlet on the Isle of Wight was devastated in a French raid in 1377 and was given two parliamentary seats by Elizabeth I, an act that led to it becoming one of the most notorious rotten boroughs?
26 In which counties are the following English National Nature Reserves a) Barton Hills b) Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses c) Gordano valley d) Studland and Godlingston Heath e) Barnack Hills & Holes f) Goss Moor
27 Which female singer made her album debut with Footprints in 2002?
28 What NFL team were previously known as the Houston Oilers?
29 Born on May 19,1890, who was originally named Nguyen Sinh Cung?
30 What TKO Software computer games series includes Breakthrough (2003) and Pacific Assault (2004)?
31 In classical music theory what term describes a set of methods for composing and analysing works of music based on structuring those works around parameterization of part of music and has types called total, integral and multiple?
32 Which Italian composer and Communist party member, who died in 1990, is known for such works as Epitaffio per Federico Garcia Lorca (1952-3), La victoire de Guernica (1954), the opera Intolleranza (1960) and the work, based on letters of victims of wartime oppression, Il canto sospeso (1956) that brought him international fame?
33 Named from the adjective for the General Council that introduced it, what term is used for mass celebrated in Latin in accordance with the successive forms of Roman Missal from its December 5, 1570 promulgation by Pope Pius V?
34 Touted as the first 64-bit system, what Atari video game console was introduced in 1993 and was such a commercial failure that it prompted the company to leave the hardware business?
35 The Irminger, the Norway and the Canary are branches of what ocean current?
Answers to BH#65
1 St Cajetan 2 Alexius II 3 Don John of Austria 4 Rudolph Goclenius or Rudolph Gockel 5 Matteo Perez d'Aleccio 6 Hugh Capet 7 Cheltenham 8 The ecliptic 9 Parnassus 10 Cumae 11 The Ten Thousand 12 Epictetus 13 Belguim (named after Pauwel Kwak) 14 Red and white blood cells and platelets 15 Hock (from hockamore from Hochheim) 16 Hock 17 Amsterdam 18 Sukkot 19 Merle Travis 20 King-in-Council or Queen-in-Council 21 A white staff 22 Lord Williams of Mostyn 23 Attorney General for England and Wales 24 Director of Public Prosecutions 25 Captain Britain 26 Alfie 27 Clan tartans 28 Blackberry, raspberry 29 Rione (pl.rioni) 30 Lego